The Portland Trail Blazers currently stand first overall in the NBA standings, and their 4-0 start has now lifted them to eighth in the ESPN NBA power rankings. That’s probably fair, given that – at least on paper – they were not expected to make much noise this year, though it represents a significant leap in the rankings since preseason.
Portland was previously listed at No. 21 by ESPN, but Ohm Youngmisuk had this to say of the Blazers’ hot start:
There’s something brewing in Portland. The Blazers are 4-0, with an overtime win against Phoenix, a thrilling two-point victory over the Lakers and a rout of the Nuggets. Damian Lillard is heating up with two 41-point games, Anfernee Simons drilled seven 3s against Denver, Jusuf Nurkic is healthy and offseason addition Jerami Grant is starting to fit in.
The Blazers have won every contest in this young season, and not just by Lillard’s hot hand. The chemistry between old faces and new additions has been excellent, the energy on defense has been palpable, and the offensive pace has been pushed again and again. Thus far, we have seen GM Joe Cronin and head coach Chauncey Billups’ vision for the team borne out.
Of course, we cannot get ahead of ourselves. Four games out of 82 is a minuscule sample. But it is deeply encouraging. Moreso than a little national recognition, though the shine is appreciated.
Will they keep their spot, move up, or drop in weeks to come? Their first test comes tonight against the Miami Heat at 7:00 p.m. (PDT).